I am often asked how I ended up in the infection prevention and control field. I didn’t end up here, I aimed for it!
By Anna Munro, Nurse Manager Infection Prevention and Control, ARHAI Scotland
Until I was nearly 40 there was no way I would ever be a nurse. I come from a family of nurses – my mother trained as a nurse, my sister trained as a nurse – and many of my friends were nurses. Definitely not for me. I went to university twice – to study biological sciences and then business with French. I had a career in retail and hospitality and, as my family grew, I ran my own business and also did catering for large events. Nursing? Never.
Then my extended family and I were all hit with health challenges.
In 2000 my brother-in-law had leukaemia and a successful bone-marrow transplant. He had amazing nursing care in a regional cancer centre – kind, compassionate and professional. He was then discharged to his local hospital for follow-up.
During this time, I was unwell. Marched off to my GP by a nurse friend, I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. I needed surgery.
After one of his follow-up treatments for an eye infection, my brother-in-law became unwell and passed away from an MRSA bacteraemia the day after I was home following surgery.
Then my mother-in-law developed ovarian cancer. She had incredible nursing and palliative care from an exceptional team and survived to hold our third baby, born at home with wonderful midwifery care.
I had seen the good, the bad and the devastating aspects of care during this time. I knew I could make a difference by using this experience. The investigation into my brother-in-law’s MRSA bacteraemia concluded that this could have been prevented through better decision making on patient placement, hand hygiene and cleaning. Chatting to a friend over a glass of wine, I found out about infection prevention and control nursing. It was an absolute light bulb moment. I became a nurse with a vision and a mission and a passion.
I have had the pleasure of working my way into this multi-faceted speciality with the support of some really highly skilled colleagues and still find it a challenging, interesting and rewarding role every day. I have loved every second of my 10 years in infection prevention and control so far. I’m excited about the seconds to come and would recommend it as a career to anyone.